Governor Rick Snyder Visits the Arab American National Museum

On monday, Governor Rick Snyder spent half a day visiting the Arab American National Museum. We were pleased the governor spent so much time learning about our institution and the communities we serve.

Select media highlights:

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40 Under 40

I’m honored to be recognized by Crain’s Business Detroit as one of the 2013 “40 Under 40” business leaders.

Since 1991, Crain’s Detroit Business has honored 40 of the community’s high achievers with its 40 under 40 awards. This year’s winners launched companies, helped grow established firms, created products, swung international deals, improved health care and aided nonprofits. The goal is to honor the best and brightest in Southeast Michigan who have made their marks in business before age 40.

Led by Crain’s enterprise editor Bill Shea, a team of reporters and editors evaluated more than 300 nominees and vetted them with industry sources and references to develop our final list.

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40 Under 40
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Featured on WDET: A Local Museum Earns National Props

“We realize that if people want to be receptive to our story, we have to be receptive to other stories.”
Devon Akmon, Director of the Arab American National Museum.

One of Metro Detroit’s newest cultural institutions has earned national credibility. The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, an honor most museums don’t have. Museum director Devon Akmon tells me it’s the gold standard for institutions of its kind.

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Reflections from the Americans All: The Immigration/Migration Initiative Meeting

This past week I had the opportunity to participate in a two-day meeting at the Smithsonian to discuss and examine a new project called the Americans All: The Immigration/Migration Initiative. This is a new Smithsonian-wide project that brings together museums and research centers to document and interpret the history and culture of immigration and migration in the United States. The meeting included representatives from Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Ellis Island Foundation, Institute of Texan Cultures, Japanese American National Museum, National Museum of American Jewish History, Plimoth Plantation, Senator John Heinz History Center, Western Reserve Historical Society, Arab American National Museum, as well as several departments from within the Smithsonian.

Over the course of the two-days, each organization was allotted time to present on relevant immigration projects, such as exhibits and public programs, that take place at their museum. I enjoyed learning how each institution adresses this important, and often controversial, topic. Although we’ve worked with some of these museums in the past, I think new and deeper collaboration will result from partnering on this initiative.

One important outcome of the meeting was to establish collaborative programming on immigration for the near future. The proposed ideas are being synthesized by project staff and will be re-distributed to the partners soon. I suspect a pilot program will launch sometime later this year, so keep an ear to the ground. In addition, the Smithsonian has bigger plans for the future that may include major programs and exhibits (perhaps in 2015/16).

I applaud the Smithsonian for addressing such an important and timely topic. Indeed, I think much is to be gained through this initiative and I suspect it will play an important role in helping to re-examine what it means to be American in the 21st century. If you’re interested in staying abreast of new developments with the project, then I recommend you “like” the Americans All: The Immigration/Migration Initiative Facebook page.

Here’s a copy of the presentation I delivered on Wednesday, January 25:

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Before the Spring | 2011 Arab Film Festival

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Come check out the annual Arab Film Festival at the Arab American National Museum. This year’s festival, Before The Spring: Alternative Arab Cinema from 2005 to Today, explores films that were produced leading up to the “Arab Spring.” The festival was curated by our friends at ArteEast. You can read more about the festival over at the HuffPost Detroit.

Screenshot of HuffPost Detroit
The 2011 Arab Film Festival on HuffPost Detroit
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Cultural Sensitivity in Museum Stewardship Presentation

Greetings to those visiting from the Registrars Committee of the American Association of Museums’ (RC-AAM) fourth International Registrars Symposium (IRS 2011). I’ve uploaded my presentation below. If you wish to continue the discussion from the conference, please contact me at dakmon[at]accesscommunity[dot]org. Thanks for visiting.

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Leveraging Technology to Attract, Engage & Educate Museum Visitors

Welcome to those I met earlier today at the Cultural Alliance of Southeastern Michigan’s annual meeting. It was a pleasure meeting many new people and I enjoyed discussing new ideas, initiatives and potential collaborations.

Here’s a copy of the presentation I delivered early today. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to leave a remark below or contact me through LinkedIn.

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2011 DIWAN: A Forum for the Arts

This weekend, the Arab American National Museum is hosting its fourth installation of DIWAN: A Forum for the Arts. We’re excited to be taking this biennial arts convening out of Michigan for the first time. This year we’re partnering with Alwan for the Arts, the Middle East and Middle East American Center (MEMEAC) at the City University of New York, and FEN Magazine to host the event in New York City. Similar to years past, there is a great roster of speakers presenting on timely and important subjects.

DIWAN unites Arab American artists, scholars and performers representing myriad academic fields and artistic genres. The conference affords a safe space to discuss topics and issues affecting the community of artists while also fostering an open environment conducive to networking and community building. Most importantly, the presentations shed light on what’s new in the world of Arab American art while creating a greater awareness for the artists and their artwork.

I’ve been involved with DIWAN since it’s inception. I’ve had the honor and pleasure of moderating a panel at all four conferences. This year I will be moderating the session, The Stories We Tell: Arab Americans convey their truth through emerging mediums of installation art, film and the graphic novel. I’m looking forward to working with a great group of presenters and I expect nothing less than another inspiring and informative conference.

It’s really quite amazing how big we’ve grown this grassroots conference in five short years. Working on this project is definitely one of the highlights of my job at the AANM. If you’re in New York this weekend (March 25-26), be sure to stop by the CUNY Graduate Center, which is where the conference will be taking place. Oh, by the way, I forgot to mention it’s FREE. Yes, we are all about being open and accessible to the public.

Also, be sure to check out the schedule and peep some photos from the 2007 and 2009 conferences. We’ve also published the audio and video of sessions from the 2009 conference on our iTunes U site. Hope to see you there this weekend!

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